Sunday, October 14, 2012

red hot

Flea. Red Hot Chili Peppers. Austin City Limits Fest 2012

I was lucky enough to have photo credentials for the Red Hot Chili Peppers show at the Austin City Limits Fest. 

I’m blown away by the staying power and popularity of the band. At the risk of showing my age, my first RHCP concert was at the now defunct Indianapolis venue, the Patio in 1985. There are several grainy YouTube videos of the show (yes, there was video back in the day). 

I was in college then and I remember finishing my waitressing shift, driving the hour it took to get from Purdue to Indianapolis, changing out of my polyester Arni's uniform in the car, and spending my tip money on the cover charge and two beers. It was a crazy show. The band was all over the stage and in various stages of dress – there were tube socks involved, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, in the past 27 years I’ve seen them play in increasingly larger venues to arena stages. If anything the remaining band members – Anthony Kiedis and Flea – are in better shape now. Drummer Chad Smith joined the band in 1989; guitar player Josh Klinghoffer has been part of the lineup since 2009. For the record Klinghoffer was six-years old the first time I saw the Chili Peppers.

There were teenagers in the ACLF crowd that had been in the front row since 11:00 that morning that hadn’t been born when the band formed. The Red Hot Chili Peppers arrived on stage to thousands of fists pumping and screaming fans, and they started out with the energy to match the crowd.

They started with “Dani California” and played with an intensity reserved for younger men. Ironically Klinghoffer is nursing a broken foot and played a good part of the show from a chair, but couldn’t help jumping up and joining the fray several times.

The band ran through several of their hits, “Otherside,” “Suck My Kiss,” “Tell Me Baby,” “Under the Bridge,” By the Way,” and “Give it Away” during their two-hour set. I can’t imagine that everyone didn’t have a great time.

I know I did. 

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